When shuttle Endeavour took her grand tour of the Southland two weeks ago, she was playing to her legions of enthralled fans, but her final terrestrial journey, covering 12-miles from LAX to the California Science Center, will be different, according to plans released on Thursday.
There will be a handful of designated locations for viewing and celebrating. But apart from that, it's going to be handled less like a parade, and more like the high-security delivery that it is.
Law enforcement officials are warning gawkers not to expect the ability to pick their viewing spot along the roadside.
"Quite frankly, the street is just not wide enough to accommodate Endeavour and spectators on the sidewalk," said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman.
Details of the route timetable were spelled out Thursday during briefings at the Science Center.
Here's the plan (the targeted times of which are subject to change):
- 2 a.m.: Depart LAX on north side.
- 4:15 a.m.: Arrive at intersection of La Tijera and Sepulveda boulevards. There, Endeavour will have a 9-hour layover while the roads ahead are cleared.
- 1:15 p.m.: Head east on Manchester Boulevard.
- 4 p.m.: Stop short of San Diego (405) Freeway, and transfer shuttle to another carrier for crossing the overpass.
- 10 p.m.: Cross 405 Freeway. CHP will close ramps and run traffic stops to minimize traffic disruptions caused by gawking. Endeavour will continue east overnight.
Saturday, Oct. 13
- 8 a.m.: Pass Inglewood City Hall, a designated viewing area.
- 9 a.m.: Reach the Forum, the scene of a formal welcoming celebration capable of accommodating a crowd as large as 14,000.
- 9:30 a.m.: Continue east on Manchester Boulevard, turning left at Crenshaw Drive, which connects to Crenshaw Boulevard.
- 2 p.m.: Arrive at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for a second celebration, with entertainment produced by Debbie Allen.
- 2:30 p.m.: Continue east on MLK Boulevard.
- 4 p.m.: Reach Exposition Park, another designated viewing area and the site of the shuttle’s new home at the California Science Center.
Apart from crowd control issues, there are significant security concerns associated with transporting a national treasure whose value in dollars and symbolism may well be immeasurable. Endeavour will be accompanied by her own LAPD security detail, according to Los Angeles Police Commander Matt Blake.
Endeavour will be surrounded at all times by a "security bubble," of several layers, the innermost comprised of officers from elite LAPD divisions who will walk with the shuttle.
Keeping up will not be difficult. Endeavour's speed limit on its modular transport blocks will be all of 2 miles per hour. Anything more might be foolhardy, given that wing and tailfin clearances at some spots will be as tight as 6 inches.
Residents and employees along Endeavour’s route will have to endure street closures and some electrical outages as power lines are de-energized and moved to make way for the shuttle's five-story-tall tailfin.
Southern California Edison expects 400 customers will be affected in Inglewood, during the 17-hour window from 9 p.m. on Oct. 12 to 2 p.m. on Oct. 13, according to spokeswoman Susan Cox.
The plan calls for a series of sequential outages, from west to east, interrupting power in any one area for no more than four hours before restoring power there, and then cutting power to the next area as the shuttle advances, Cox said.
Because of variations in local distribution networks, she said, not all homes and businesses along the route will be affected.
Inglewood City Councilman Mike Stevens expressed displeasure that details of the outages were not provided further in advance. Stevens has also been critical of the hundreds of trees removed along Endeavour's route through Inglewood and South Los Angeles.
The community should have been presented a more complete picture of the impact, rather than "Oh yeah, here's another," Stevens said.
Endeavour will be housed for the next three years in a cavernous hangar at the west end of the Science Center, with the grand opening scheduled for Oct. 30.
The shuttle's permanent home, where it will be displayed in launch position, will be the planned Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, targeted for completion in 2017.